Transbay Transit Center Finally Opens to Public

Nearly 20 years after voters approved funds for a new Transbay Transit Center, it opens this weekend.

For the first time since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, San Francisco will have a permanent transbay transit center.

Bay Area transit agencies will run services to the $2 billion Salesforce Transit Center on Sunday, but not before a neighborhood block party shows off rooftop park and public art on Saturday. The center — which voters approved in 1999 — stretches three blocks from Second to Beale streets just south of Mission Street, with two stories each above and below ground near the Bay Bridge ramp.

For commuters dropped off at the dark and gloomy temporary transbay center on Howard and Beale streets, a couple blocks will make a monumental difference starting. East Bay agency AC Transit will transfer all 27 transbay bus lines from the temporary terminal to the bus deck at the new center, according to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.

Amtrak, Greyhound, and the SFMTA bus to and from Treasure Island will also operate on the bus deck. Muni will join the other agencies in June, using the bus plaza at the street level.

The transit center still has phase two up its sleeve, which will extend Caltrain 1.3 miles from the existing station at Fourth and King streets to the new center. It’s also planned to dock the high-speed rail when it eventually arrives, currently estimated for 2033.

It’s not just about getting people from one place to another. Atop the transit center sits a park with a picnic meadow, a children’s play area, a two-story restaurant, and an open-air amphitheater.

And the center includes 100,000 square feet of retail space, almost half of which has been leased. Fitness SF, Philz Coffee, and OnSite Dental are some of the tenants, and more will join by mid-2019.

San Franciscans without tickets to Outside Lands can scope all this out for themselves on Saturday. The block party starts at noon and includes music performances, fitness classes, a petting zoo, lighting shows, pop-up stores, and food trucks — none of which also have ‘Salesforce’ slapped in front of it.

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